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COB Statement: Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Confirmation

RE:  Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Confirmation

Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. This is a monumental decision, for the next justice will be the swing vote on a divided Supreme Court, probably casting the decisive vote on some of the major decisions before the nation’s highest court and the nation. These cases include those involving presidential authority and power, women’s reproductive rights, affirmative action, voting rights and a host of other major cases. This is the most important Supreme Court nomination in decades.

This nomination, which appeared to be headed for certain confirmation, is now engulfed in controversy and doubt. Mr. Kavanaugh has been accused (by three to five women) of sexual misconduct. The Senate Judiciary Committee rather than allowing these allegations to be investigated by the FBI, as it has done in other cases, refused to ask the FBI to investigate. Instead, scheduled a hearing before the Judiciary Committee with one of the accuser’s, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Mr. Kavanaugh. The United States Senate has not provided an opportunity to testify to other accusers, nor called other potential witnesses to testify under oath.

We listened to Mr. Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee and, are troubled by his failure to fully and clearly respond to questions, often stating that he did not want to respond to “hypothetical matters.” Yet, Mr. Kavanaugh has written or rendered opinions on many of these issues. His writings and positions in previous cases speak clearly to his mindset and are not hypotheticals. Further, his writings on presidential authority, which express his opinion that the president should not be investigated, subpoenaed or indicted while in office, poses a possible conflict if he is a member of the Supreme Court, and issues, involving the president in the current Russia investigation. Mr. Kavanaugh’s opinions regarding matters of voting rights, presidential authority and other issues trouble us greatly. He would appear to continue the current Supreme Court’s assault on voting and other rights.

The allegations made against him by (three to five women) also greatly trouble us. We affirm that he should not be assumed to be guilty, however, we also believe that these women have a right to be heard and present their cases. Not one, but each of the accusers should be allowed to testify. We listened today to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and found her to be very credible.

We believe that there is no reasonable or credible explanation as to why the Republicans who control the Senate are in a mad rush to get this nominee confirmed. Mr. Kavanaugh was nominated by Mr. Trump on July 9th, 82 days ago. Yet, Judge Merrick Garland who was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2016, never received a hearing with Republican senators or the Judiciary Committee, and there was not one question as to whether he was qualified to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

With all of this in mind, the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church opposes the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. His failure to be responsive, the Judiciary Committee’s refusal to request an FBI investigation into allegations made against him, the possible conflict related to the Russia investigation, and the questionable rush to confirmation, leave us no alternative other than to oppose this nomination. To save the Senate from continuing this charade before the nation, we urge Donald Trump to withdraw this nomination.

We ask and urge our congregants to immediately call the offices of the United States Senators who represent you in Washington DC, and call upon them to vote against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church